posted by Phil Johnson
The PyroManiacs devote space at the beginning of each week to highlights from The Spurgeon Archive. This excerpt is from a sermon titled "The Man with the Measuring Line," preached Sunday morning, 11 December 1864. Spurgeon's words resonate wonderfully with John MacArthur's much-discussed opening message from last week's Shepherds' Conference.
am not given to prophesying, and I fear that the fixing of dates and periods has been exceedingly injurious to the whole system of premillennial teaching; but I think I clearly see in Scripture that the Lord Jesus Christ will comeso far I go, and take my standthat he will come personally to reign upon this earth.
At his coming it appears clear to me that he will gather together the Jewish people, that Jerusalem shall become the metropolis of the new empire which shall then extend from pole to pole, from the river even to the ends of the earth. If this be a correct interpretation of prophecy, you may read the whole of Zechariah 2 through and understand it; you have the key to every sentence: without such a belief; I see not how to interpret the prophet’s meaning.
Dear friends, we may sometimes refresh our minds with a prospect of the kingdom which is soon to cover all lands, and make the sun and moon ashamed by its superior glory. We are not to indulge in prophesyings as some do, making them our spiritual food, our meat and drink; but still we may take them as choice morsels, and special delicacies set upon the table; they are condiments which may often give a sweeter taste, or, if you will, a greater pungency and savor to other doctrines; prophetic views light up the crown of Jesus with a superior splendor; they make his manhood appear illustrious as we see him still in connection with the earth: to have a kingdom here as well as there; to sit upon a throne here as well as in yonder skies; to subdue his adversaries even upon this Aceldama, as in the realm of spirits; to make even this poor earth upon which the trail of the serpent is so manifest, a place where the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.
If our view of prophecy be the correct one, it seems to be in perfect harmony with all the doctrines of the gospel. God certainly did elect his people the Jews; he made a covenant with his servant Abraham, and albeit you will remind us that this was only a temporal covenant, I would remind you that it was the type of the spiritual one, and it would be an unhappy reflection for us if the typical covenant should prove to be only temporary as well as temporal; if that came to an end, and if God cast away, in any sense, the people whom he did foreknow, it might augur to us the ill foreboding that mayhap he might cast away his spiritual seed also, and that those who were chosen as the spiritual seed of Abraham, might yet be cut off from the olive into which they had been grafted. If the natural branches are cast away for ever, why not the grafted branches too?
But here is our joy, the God who sware unto his servant Abraham that to him and to his seed would he give the land for ever, hath not gone back from his word; they shall possess the land; their feet shall joyously tread its fruitful acres yet again; they shall sit every man under his own vine and under his own fig tree, and none shall make them afraid; and so the spiritual seed to whom the spiritual heritage is given as by a covenant of salt, they also shall possess their heritage for ever, and of their rightful portion no robber shall despoil them.
Note: Debates over eschatological charts and end-times fine points are virtually always off-topic here at PyroManiacs. For the comment-thread under this post, however, we'll make a brief exception to our usual rule, especially since this subject has already been batted around so enthusiastically for several days by our friends and our adversaries alike. Feel free to post your personal observations or arguments about the above remarks by Spurgeon.
If you're looking for a discussion of John MacArthur's opening Shepherds' Conference message, that's not actually the point of this post or the discussion thread below. If that's what you want to talk aboutespecially if you mainly want to fulminate, please head over to Challies or to the Pulpit Live blog, where that discussion is already taking place.